Vinyl Costs – A February 10, 2018 article in the Toronto Star, Why Is the Price of Vinyl Albums At A Record High?, discusses increases in the cost of new vinyl records.
“… as anyone who’s been buying or selling vinyl over the past few years is aware, $30 and up is increasingly the new normal for new LPs -”
Increased vinyl costs isn’t news to those of us who frequent record stores, but it also should be no surprise to anyone. Whether it is a hipster trend or a long-term rebirth of vinyl, the reality is vinyl sales continue to rise and vinyl pressing capacity is still trying to catch up. Its simple supply and demand (22% increase in new vinyl sales in Canada from 2016-2017), sprinkled with a bit of speculative opportunism.
“Still, some retailers place the blame squarely on major labels for getting back in the vinyl game and milking it for all it’s worth as CD and digital music sales look increasingly shaky in a streaming age.”
If you’re looking at prices for new vinyl now, it may just be some short-term pain for some long-term gain. Putting out $35 or more for that new vinyl hurts right now, but the increased sales and potential profits have resulted in new vinyl pressing technologies like the WarmTone presses being manufactured by Viryl Technologies. Add to that, new pressing plants now becoming financially viable (Microforum and Precision Pressing in Toronto, as well as Kaneshii in PEI in Canada alone).
As these plants increase capacity, the cost of vinyl will start to drop.
In addition, the new vinyl people are buying today, will start to move into the used vinyl bins. This should push the price of new vinyl down a bit too, but that remains to be seen. If you’ve dropped $30+, you’re going to be pretty reluctant to let that baby go for the .50 that some used vinyl stores often pay for old vinyl.
The other positive spin-off (pun intended) is the variety in vinyl and related add-ons that are now viable. Take for example the “mix-tape” approach being taken by Vinyl Moon. Not only are you getting introduced to a wide variety of great new artists, but these artists are getting their music to ears that previously were unreachable. New music from new artists on vinyl – doesn’t get much better than that!
Then there are the extra goodies that subscription services like VnylMnky who add custom album art work and lithographs to their monthly offerings. These add-ons may not be for everyone, but price increases in new vinyl are making these services viable.
And then there are the services like Feedbands which I contend have been made possible by the vinyl resurgence and perhaps indirectly by the increase in vinyl prices. Feedbands is a phenomenal platform for new music and new artists.
No one likes to pay more for something that we love, but if we can just hang on for the supply and demand cycle to level off, there may very well be some good news, good music and good vinyl at the end of the road.
(shout out to Paul for bring the article to my attention – he gets up earlier than me on Saturdays)